CHICAGO and ANN ARBOR, MI — Architects, designers, retailers and consumers now have an American National Standard that helps identify sustainable and environmentally-preferable wallcoverings: NSF/ANSI 342: Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products.

NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to protecting public health and the environment, announced the adoption of the first American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved wallcovering standard at Greenbuild 2010.

The NSF/ANSI 342 sustainable wallcovering standard was developed through the National Center for Sustainability Standards, which was founded by NSF to develop national standards and protocols for measuring sustainability attributes and conformity assessment programs to help verify sustainability claims. The Center is helping to eliminate greenwashing by bringing transparency and credibility to the sustainability marketplace.

As products with green claims continue to enter the market, independent, third-party certification of these products to national standards, such as NSF/ANSI 342, is essential as it enables buyers to make educated decisions when selecting sustainable products. NSF/ANSI 342 evaluates the environmental performance and sustainability attributes of wallcoverings, based on product design, manufacturing, long-term value and innovation, among other factors.

Products covered by the new standard include textiles, vinyl, vinyl coated, alternative polymer, alternative polymer coated, paper and other natural fiber products and natural fiber products. The standard contains criteria across the product life cycle, from raw material extraction through manufacturing, distribution, use, and end-of-life management, including:
* Raw material inputs (fibers, resins, additives, colorants and process chemicals),
* Fabric or sheet formation (textiles),
* Finishing treatments (flame resistance),
* Attachment systems (adhesives),
* Product distribution,
* Recycling, and
* Indoor air quality.

Under the guidance of NSF International, an ANSI-accredited public health organization, a joint committee developed the new standard through a documented, consensus-based process. The joint committee included users, state and federal agencies responsible for procurement practices, the Environmental Protection Agency, wallcovering manufacturers, distributors, academics and certification agencies.

NSF/ANSI Standard 342: Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products will be reviewed by the joint committee and the National Center for Sustainability Standards on an ongoing basis to ensure that it remains current and technically-sound.

“The American national standard for wallcoverings provides benchmarks for continual improvement and innovation within the design, construction and building industries. By defining environmental, social and economic performance requirements, this new standard will help eliminate greenwashing, as well as help minimize the environmental impact of these products,” said Jane Wilson, NSF International Director of Standards. “The National Center for Sustainability Standards, founded by NSF, will continue to develop and review national standards, such as NSF/ANSI Standard 342, to evaluate sustainability attributes and verify claims, bringing transparency and credibility to the sustainability marketplace.”

“The Wallcoverings Association is pleased to play an important role as a third-party certifier in sustainability,” said Mike Bixler of National Wallcovering, Inc., Wallcoverings Association President. “This is a truly industry-driven standard, developed with the input and technical expertise of WA’s members. As sustainability factors become increasingly important to wallcoverings consumers, specifiers, and producers, the industry is eager to be at the forefront of this positive movement.”

As a leading ANSI-accredited developer of more than 70 American National Standards that protect public health and the environment, NSF, through the National Center for Sustainability Standards, has developed sustainability standards for: building products and materials; furniture; carpet and flooring, fabrics; wallcoverings; roofing membranes; green chemicals; and drinking water quality.

The mission of the Center is to foster a consensus-based approach toward conformity assessment in the sustainability field. NSF works with leading regulators, scientists, engineers, public and environmental health professionals and industry representatives to develop protocols and transparent, consensus-based standards. The National Center for Sustainability Standards will continue to add to its growing standards portfolio while providing education, outreach, and research and development support to private industry, trade associations, government and academia.

NSF Sustainability also recently announced the launch of its new NSF Sustainable Product Certification Program to verify claims or to certify a sustainable product to a standard. Products which achieve certification are allowed to use the NSF Sustainability Mark, a signal to buyers and consumers of the products’ sustainability.

About The Wallcoverings Association: The Wallcoverings Association (WA), based in Chicago, Illinois, is a trade association representing wallcoverings manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers to the industry. It steadfastly supports responsible manufacturing and distribution of durable, safe and high quality products that demonstrate sustainable characteristics throughout the life of the product. For the last two years the wallcoverings industry has worked with environmental and technical professionals from outside the industry to develop a NSF/ANSI 342: Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products. This standard measures the performance of manufacturers, distributors and their products and promotes the continuing pursuit to improve products’ environmental, economic and social parameters.

About NSF International: NSF International has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment for more than 65 years. As an independent, not-for-profit organization, NSF’s mission is to protect public health and the environment through standards development, inspection, testing and certification for the food, water, build/construction, retail, chemical and health science industries. Operating in more than 120 countries, NSF is committed to protecting public health worldwide and is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.

NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality systems management to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains.

Additional services include NSF Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, dietary and nutritional supplement certification and organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International).

SOURCE: NSF International

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